"Four Children and It" for Jacqueline Wilson

Former children's laureate Jacqueline Wilson is to update E Nesbit's Edwardian classic

Bestselling children's author Jacqueline Wilson is to publish a revamp of E Nesbit's classic Five Children and It, cutting the cast-list down to four —  plus "It", the wish-granting fairy that the children find in a sandpit.

The Tracy Beaker author revealed today that Four Children and It, to be published in the summer, will be set in the modern day and follow brother and sister Rosalind and Robbie, their half-sister Maudie and step-sister Smash. The foursome will discover the mythical sand-fairy, or "Psammead", this time around in a big sandpit in Surrey's Oxshott Woods.

The children make a wish to meet the original characters of Nesbit's 1902 novel, Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane and baby Lamb, and their wish comes true - with Rosalind finding herself stuck in the past.

Wilson, who is known for her hard-hitting children's tales involving themes such as divorce and mental illness, said today she had been a fan of E Nesbit as a child, borrowing her books from the local library.

E Nesbit's 110-year-old classic has never been out of print, and was followed by The Phoenix and the Carpet in 1904 and The Story of the Amulet two years later. It was adapted into a BBC series in the 1990s, and a film version in 2004, with comedian Eddie Izzard voicing the grumpy Psammead.

 "I loved the way she wrote very approachably," Wilson said. "This is a kind of tribute to her."

Four Children and It by Jacqueline Wilson will be published by Puffin in August 2012.